By PAUL SCHENKEL, morganton.com:
Make that nine NCAA Division I football scholarship offers for rising Freedom senior running back B.J. Emmons. And this one might trump them all. Emmons’ mother, Cynthia Martin, said Freedom coach Brandon Allen received a phone call Friday around 1:30 p.m., not from a recruiting coordinator or a position coach, but from Alabama head coach Nick Saban himself, a four-time NCAA champion and two-time national coach of the year. Saban called to personally offer the two-time reigning Burke County player of the year Emmons a scholarship. Martin said the Alabama recruiter for this area had come by FHS the week before to see Emmons and told him they were very interested at that time.
By RYAN BLACK, ledger-enquirer.com:
Lance Thompson knows that from afar, his jump from Alabama to Auburn in January looks strange. It’s so rare, after all, that coaches switch sides in the Iron Bowl rivalry. In the past 50 years, just two other coaches have done it: Bill Oliver did it twice, going from Auburn to Alabama in 1971 before circling back around by leaving Alabama for Auburn in 1996. In 1999, James Willis departed the Tigers to join the Crimson Tide. So, aware how difficult it is to alter perception, Thompson will let people say what they will. “It’s just the nature of the business,” he said earlier this spring. “People on the outside look at it and see different things, but I think on the inside, the parties involved, everybody understands why I made the decision and why it was a good decision for me.”
By Mark Inabinett, al.com:
During the 2014 season, 41 former Alabama players saw action in the NFL. For the 2015 season, 57 ex-Crimson Tide standouts have taken the first step toward making it there. That’s how many Alabama players are on NFL rosters as the teams head into OTAs. Alabama has at least one representative on 27 of the 32 NFL teams, with the Baltimore Ravens and the Cincinnati Bengals carrying to most former Crimson Tide players with five apiece. The Green Bay Packers have four. NFL teams can carry 90 players during the summer. In the regular season, that number is cut to 53. Organized Team Activities, or OTAs, start this week for five NFL teams, with the rest (except for the St. Louis Rams) starting next week. OTAs are Phase 3 of the NFL offseason program. No contact drills are allowed, but teams can hold 11-on-11 practices during their 10 days of OTAs.
By Chris Hale, Bama Hammer:
The Alabama recruiting class of 2016 got a big addition – in every sense of the word – on Friday when four-star defensive tackle Kendell Jones gave his verbal commitment to Coach Nick Saban and the staff during his spring game at his high school. Jones becomes the Tide’s ninth commit for the class of 2016. Jones is a 6-foot-4.5, 361 pound prospect out of Killeen, Texas. The home state Texas Longhorns held the edge in the crystal ball picks on 247Sports up until last week when word leaked that Jones may have already committed to Alabama. The Tide only had six percent at that time but quickly jumped into the lead.
By Marc Torrence, Bleacher Report:
A slow start isn’t necessarily a bad thing for Alabama in recruiting, and it’s not that uncommon either. The 2016 class might just be taking a little longer than usual. 2015’s haul started similarly but got a big kick-start at the 2014 A-Day, when four players committed, including two 5-stars, pushing Alabama’s class to 14 commitments at the time. This year, it’s been more of a slow trickle, with just eight commitments to date, but no drop in quality. When doing some early analysis of the Crimson Tide’s 2016 class, it’s important to remember that there are still 10 or so months until national signing day. Consider these more midterm grades, a judge of progress, than a final evaluation.
By Alex Scarborough, ESPN:
Most programs would kill for one national title a decade, much less three. But when you’re the Crimson Tide and coached by the venerable Nick Saban, going two seasons without one must feel like an eternity. With a new QB, a void at WR and a once-machine-like D in need of fixing, a return to glory is a long climb. How the Tide beat you: In one season, Lane Kiffin changed everything. He took an offense that evoked 3 yards and a cloud of dust and turned it into a monster truck rally. The Tide attacked from all angles, dumping the huddle in favor of the hurry-up and in turn creating the most plays of 20-plus yards (81) in the Saban era.
by Anish Kapil, stripehype.com:
There is a significant part of the Cincinnati Bengals‘ fan base who have no regard for Andy Dalton. He has become, with Marvin Lewis, one of the faces of ineptitude for the recent playoff failures. Many fans have resigned themselves to the fact as long as Dalton is at the helm, the Bengals will not be successful. Terrelle Pryor has been a career back up, as has Josh Johnson, so neither candidate will threaten Dalton’s grasp on the starting quarterback job. Could the finally healthy A.J. McCarron be an option to unseat the consistently criticized Dalton?
By Mark Inabinett, al.com:
Guard Leon Brown had a chance to join the Jacksonville Jaguars in his attempt to jump from Alabama to the NFL. He chose the Baltimore Ravens instead. The Jaguars have one of Brown’s former Crimson Tide teammates on their roster – running back T.J. Yeldon. The Ravens have three – linebacker Trey DePriest, safety Nick Perry and inside linebacker C.J. Mosley. “It’s just more comforting to me,” Brown told Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. “Me knowing guys on the team, having played with them in college or coming from the same program, we can all look out for each other. So it’s more like home inside of home for me.”
By Ben Kercheval, Bleacher Report:
Alabama’s quarterback battle remains one of the most talked about storylines of the college football offseason. The reasons why are fairly obvious: Said battle will extend into preseason camp and has been the subject of grad transfer rumors involving Braxton Miller and Everett Golson. Here’s a question, though: Is it really that important who the Tide’s starting quarterback is in Week 1? If anything, Alabama’s recent history under head coach Nick Saban has shown that defense is the pavement on which national championship runs are constructed. If the Tide want to get back to a national championship game in 2015-16, their defensive line is going to be position group that gets them there.